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Grammys broadens album award to boost classical, jazz

The Grammy for Album of the Year, one of the most prestigious prizes in music, will have looser requirements this year to allow more classical and jazz works to compete.

The Recording Academy, the group of music professionals who vote on the awards, announced the change Wednesday before the nominating process starts for the 60th Grammys, which will take place on January 28.

Under previous rules, the academy considered for Album of the Year any work released in the qualifying year that ran at least 15 minutes with five or more distinct tracks.


In the revision, the Recording Academy dropped the requirement of five tracks if the album runs 30 minutes or more.

“The definition expansion allows for greater inclusion of music creators who produce longer pieces, particularly in the classical, dance and jazz fields,” it said in a statement.

In practice, pop and rock artists have dominated the category since the 1960s. The last two winners of Album of the Year were both major commercial successes — Adele’s “25” this year and Taylor Swift’s “1989” in 2016.

Jazz legend Herbie Hancock won in 2008, but for an album that covered songs by folk pop pioneer Joni Mitchell.

The Recording Academy also announced that its 13,000 voters will for the first time vote online this year, rather than mail in ballots.

The Grammys will mark its 60th edition by bringing the gala to New York after more than a decade in Los Angeles.

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